Water, power tariffs hike looms

Water, power tariffs hike looms

MASERU – THE Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) has received tariff review applications from WASCO and LEC for the 2017/2018 financial year.

WASCO is requesting approval for a revenue requirement of M257.3 million, a tariff upward adjustment of 10 percent to the existing one and standing charges.

WASCO says it has to undertake preventive maintenance to maintain key infrastructure, maintain its non-revenue water to acceptable levels and to rehabilitate its reticulation systems.

WASCO also wants to make it easy to operate the Metolong water treatment facility and its related infrastructure and improve performance.

It also proposes to augment its key personnel in selected operational areas, in particular Metolong.

The bulk of the proposed costs for WASCO goes to workers’ salaries with M110.5 million, followed by administration costs with M33.5 million.

WASCO also says its expected costs for power will be M25.4 million, followed by reticulation and plant maintenance with M21.6 million.

Water and sewage connection is expected to cost M20.5 million while the least will be chemical usage with M8.5 million.

In an interview with the WASCO CEO Lehlohonolo Manamolela earlier this month, he said WASCO uses electricity to pump water to the storage tanks so if there is no electricity the already stored water is finished quickly.

He said residents on high ground are the ones who suffer more because even after the electricity problem is dealt with water delays to reach them.

Manamolela also said the other problem which WASCO is dealing with is maintenance or replacement of old pipes, the majority of which were installed during the pre-independence era.

“Many of these pipes leak and we have to continuously repair or replace them,” he said.

“I urge all our customers to faithfully pay their bills so that we can collect enough funds to do this job.”

As for the LEC, its reasons for wanting to hike the tariffs are similar to last year’s.

The biggest drivers of the electricity increase are bulk purchases and operating expenditure for the LEC transmission and distribution businesses.

These increases are driven by the growth in the demand for electricity, replacement of ageing network assets, enhanced reliability and performance standards.

The growth in capital expenditure also results in increased costs associated with maintaining the significantly increased assets base and safe operating environment.

LEC transmits and distributes electricity to consumers in the country.

This involves diagnosis and addressing of problems with electrical equipment such as substations, distribution and transmission transformers, breakers and switch gears.

The target is to inspect, maintain, test and repair electrical equipment to improve its reliability.

The LEC proposes M964.5 million, which is a 16.9 percent increase from the current tariffs.

Staff Reporter

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